Clarissa Dickson Wright commented, on an episode of "The Two Fat Ladies" TV show, that "Great bakers are born, the rest of us just have to muddle through." I think I got that right without going back through the DVD to check the quote. I quite agree with that statement. A good friend and retired colleague of the Spouse brought us some quite divine sticky buns on Christmas Eve. She had made them from scratch and during conversation that day, allowed that her Mother and her Grandmother had been great bakers of bread. The
Clarissa Dickson Wright commented, on an episode of "The Two Fat Ladies" TV show, that "Great bakers are born, the rest of us just have to muddle through." I think I got that right without going back through the DVD to check the quote. I quite agree with that statement. A good friend and retired colleague of the Spouse brought us some quite divine sticky buns on Christmas Eve. She had made them from scratch and during conversation that day, allowed that her Mother and her Grandmother had been great bakers of bread. The rest of us just have to get on as best we can. Constantly learning new things, I have become a firm believer in aiding my culinary efforts with the right kitchen tools. A perfect example of that belief is the recipe for the famed "Neiman Marcus $250 Cookie Recipe". As the old story goes, a customer had written to the Neiman Marcus department store, asking for the recipe for their renowned cookies. She purportedly received the recipe and a subsequent bill for $250, payable to Neiman Marcus. Whether this is a true story, I haven't a clue. But the cookies are wonderful and well worth the effort.
"Neiman Marcus $250 Cookie Recipe"
(Recipe can be easily halved)
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
5 cups blended oatmeal, made from quick-cooking oatmeal*
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (8-ounce) Hershey's chocolate bar, grated*
3 cups chopped pecans*
* Use a food processor to blend oatmeal to a coarse flour, to chop the pecans and grate the chocolate, processor bowl does not have to be washed out between ingredients.
Cream together butter and sugars in large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla, mixing well.
Mix flour, blended oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture gradually, blending well. Add chocolate chips, grated chocolate and pecans, mixing well. Dough will be very stiff.
Roll into 1-inch balls and bake on parchment paper at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes (or edges are lightly browned, depending on your oven's peculiarities). Cool completely on wire racks and store in airtight container. The cookies freeze well if placed in freezer safe airtight containers. Makes approximately 96 cookies.
My first attempts at stir-frying with a wok taught me to have all my ingredients, assembled, measured out, and prepped (i.e. chopped, grated, etc.). This practice has become my norm, making sure that I actually have everything I need, as well as being ready to add ingredients when needed. Nothing like discovering that you are out of baking powder or don't have enough chocolate chips after the recipe is begun.
A food processor is a great help in making these cookies. If you process the oatmeal first and then transfer it to the bowl containing the other dry ingredients, you can then chop your pecans and grate the chocolate bar without having to wash out the processor bowl in between.
About six years or so ago, I developed an auto-immune disease called Polymyalgia Rheumatica. Never heard it? Neither had I. It was a text book case and lasted the forecasted 2 1/2 - 3 years. But it neccessitated the purchase of some kitchen tools that I had never needed before, an electric can opener and a heavy duty stand mixer. We had received as a wedding present, a Sunbeam stand mixer that had served me well since the Spouse and I got married over thirty years before and it had finally given out on me. Used to creaming butter and sugar by hand, it was no longer an option for my arthritic, carpal tunnelled wrists and hands. With the help of my Kitchen Aid Pro 600, I could again mix without pain.
Two tools that I have just recently embraced are the kitchen scooper and parchment paper. My Mom gave me two sizes of scoopers several years ago but it was only after watching a lot of cooking shows that I realized how versatile these handy little gadjets are. From efficiently filling cupcake liners to making uniform sized cookies or meatballs, the scoopers are really "the bee's knees"!! As for parchment paper, I really don't have any excuses for not utilizing it years ago. Maybe I had been under a "culinary rock", so to speak. At any rate, from "sticking to the pan-free"cookies to sausage balls, this stuff is great!!
A set of three stacking cooling racks was given to me by my Mother-in-Law, many years ago and have served me well ever since. Folding up neatly for storage, they are a great option if one is short on counter space.
I love to bake and cook and hope to share my journies with you. Until next time, bon appetit!
sunfeathers "life is full of possibilities"
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